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6th November 2020
Whatever the format of your interview, it’s important you demonstrate your knowledge of the Medical School. A current Med Student shares their tips on what you need to research as part of your interview prep.

Words by Ruari McGowan

Course Structure And Curriculum

You need to know whether the Medical School teaches traditional courses or integrated – and what their teaching style is. Make sure you find out:

  • At what stage do clinical placements begin? How much clinical exposure would you get?
  • Will you be placed in the city the entire time, or might you have some placements further out?
  • Is the course delivered through lectures alone or does it make use of Problem or Case-Based Learning? 
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What Is The School’s USP?

Each Medical School is different – and you need to know what makes them stand out. This might feature in your answer if you’re asked why you want to study there. Think about:

  • Is it an intercalated course?
  • Is research a big focus? What projects are they working on at the moment?
  • What attracted you to apply in the first place?

Research Profile

Apart from academic teaching, the medical faculty of your university will also be involved in both scientific and clinical research.

You can find out what research is a focus by looking at the Med School’s website. You aren’t expected to reel off a list of projects, but some deeper understanding will show you’ve really thought about the University.

Hospital Affiliations

Throughout your five or six years of Medical School, and particularly your final years, the clinical aspects of Medicine will be taught at hospitals, or by consultants working in the affiliated hospitals. In an interview, it is often worth pointing out benefits unique to the particular hospitals.

For example, is it a tertiary hospital which specialises in an area that you are interested in? Or is it a district hospital covering a large catchment area, and would therefore expose you to a wider variety of patients and illnesses?

The Local Demographic

Different cities and different hospitals often encounter lots of different groups of patients. For example, Barts and the London in East London will experience a different patient demographic to Keele, and this can be an interesting point to mention in relation to the university.

However, don’t use the phrase ‘patient demographic’ without having some awareness of what it is in that area.

For bonus points, think about how this ties into any special areas of research at the Med School – or any outreach programmes they have. Try to find one that particularly interests you, and that you can discuss with interest.

Extra-curricular Opportunities

Medicine definitely is a work-hard-play-hard degree, so think about what you might like to get up to during your own time. The people interviewing you want to see what you will bring to the medical school’s community, not just what you bring academically.

It’s good to talk about hobbies you plan on carrying on at university, such as sport or music, but it is also a good idea to mention something new that the university’s student union offers which you would like to get involved in.

Know Why You Chose To Apply

This might seem a blatantly obvious point, but often we have to apply so strategically for medicine it can be easy to forget why you put your four choices down in the first place.

By combining different elements from the above tips and your own personal spin you’ll be able to justify why you want to be there – but make sure you think about it in advance!

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